North Korea (MNN) — The Bush
Administration's decision to reward North Korea for its nuclear program
declaration met with mixed reaction.
a part of the"axis of evil," concessions
were traded for a long-awaited accounting of North Korea's nuclear bomb-making
abilities. President Bush will lift
some U.S. sanctions and remove the country from the State Department's list of
state sponsors of terrorism if it can be proven that North Korea keeps its part
of the bargain.
President and CEO of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller was aghast at the decision. He wondered aloud what changed so drastically
in 18 months.
what message does this send to the persecuted church?
Open Doors World Watch List has ranked North Korea as the worse violator of
religious rights for six years in a row. According to them, more Christians were
arrested in North Korea in 2007 than in 2006. Many have been beaten, tortured
or killed because of their religious beliefs.
Open Doors' local source
estimates the number of underground Christians to be at least 200,000, and it's
likely that there are as many as 400,000 to 500,000 believers. At least a
quarter of the Christians are imprisoned for their faith in political prison
camps, from which people rarely get out alive.
It's a devastating
turn of events, Moeller says. "The
[administration has] completely turned a deaf ear to the cries of millions of
North Koreans who are starving today, who are oppressed, and the hundreds of
thousands–by our estimate maybe 200,000-400,000
believers in North Korea–who are particularly persecuted for their faith in
political concessions by North Korea won't affect the believers in this hermit
country. "Their steadfast hope is that the West will remember their
suffering, remember their chains."
The Open Doors North Korea team is taking the lead in evangelizing North
Korea. Opens Doors can't reveal the nature of several projects, but they are
serve many North Korean women in the country and plan to extend the ministry
more concretely in the long term. Please pray that this project can also become
revitalized and expanded.